Johannesburg – A
new study from the University of Edinburgh claims that golfers may live longer
than non-golfers, and that the game has several other health and perhaps even
study was presented at the PGAs of Europe Annual Congress in Turkey recently
and which the PGA of South Africa attended as an international member.
The study took into account over 300 global studies
done on the relationship between golf and health, and was published in the
British Journal of Sports Medicine.
According to its findings, golfers who walk a golf course
and don’t use golf carts may live as much as five years longer than
non-golfers, and the regular physical activity associated with golf decreases
the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes,
and colon and breast cancer.
In particular, the study referred to a similar
Swedish study which compared 300 818 golfers to non-golfers and discovered a
40% lower mortality rate amongst the golfers as a result of their higher weekly
According to the study’s authors, "Playing golf can provide moderate intensity
physical activity and has overall positive associations with physical health
and mental wellness, while golf may contribute to increased longevity."
More research is being done as to whether golf can decrease
the risk of anxiety, depression and perhaps even dementia.
In South Africa, the Cancer Association of South
Africa (CANSA) has long seen a link between golf and improved physical health.
CANSA, in partnership with Sanlam, this year
celebrates the 25th year of the annual Sanlam Cancer Challenge in
which over 35 000 amateur golfers take part nationwide in annual club
competitions as a means of encouraging better health while also raising funds
Ivano Ficalbi, the Chief Executive of the PGA of
South Africa, has welcomed the new study.
"I think the message is clear that golf provides a
number of benefits to society, and the improved health benefits are certainly a
part of this. Too often people don’t think of golf as a sport, which it
certainly is. So I’d encourage people to get out there and have fun playing
golf, because it’s clearly good for you."